1. Been busy past 3 months building the #minecraftofthings for CloudMaker with @printcrafting @amcewen @dr_mark_wright and @FACT_Liverpool and co-researchers at Liverpool Studio School supported by the ITaaU network of the UK research council and FACT

    CloudMaker: Making Minecraft Real from FACT on Vimeo.

    Inspiring to work alongside @paulharter who has used his awesome printbot bukkit plugin and printcrafting system to make Minecraft worlds from RFID cards visible in a beautiful custom arcade game minecraft RFID worldviewer. If you ever wondered what hidden worlds could be within your oyster card then you can go there within his installation. Its not just an artistic gesture; its a usable & scalable system to physically ‘collect’ your digital models; a calling card for your ‘technical identity’ a term that came up with discussions with the Studio School head.

    I’ve been working with Year 11 co-researchers at the school to build a scale model of the local Cains Brewery site in Liverpool and then 3dprinting the models using Printcraft.

    These become tangible interfaces for a live immersive projected minecraft world; using a Microsoft Surface 2 table and tuio/OSC tracking feducials these 3D objects build themselves into the server to make a whole new physical interaction with the game. A 3Dprinted minecraft monkey allows you to explore an immersive projected minecraft world; moving him across a 2D visual map of the server on the Surface (using Dynmap) transports you to that point in minecraft with the 3D models building & moving around you.

    TLRN Crane and Mark Wright

    Alongside this @DefProc ‘s Patrick Fenner has built a trilateration #TLNR robotic crane that allows you to build cardboard minecraft structures; positioning cardboard voxels with the same Math GPS positioning uses.

    One of the most fascinating part of the project for me and my works concerns is exploring the knowledge production that takes place across the Minecraft community topology. It’s what makes Minecraft important: its simplicity belies the complexity of thought it becomes a tool for; its a space to imagine or construct a problem to model a solution or a series of questions. The co-design space the game has become is not pure virtual lego construction: its also become a meta-space for everything from computation, mapping, public consultation, Katy Perry Cover Versions, with NoteBlocks learning Python and Javascript, log flumes, chess and even Quantum Physics.

    A response to this ‘knowledge space’ was to use Minecraft for product design, a divergence from its intuitively physical architectural virtual/habitative space. Working with Internet of Things advocate Adrian McEwen we used Makers of Morecambe shrimp arduino kits and PyFirmata and mciot to make minecraft events trigger LED monitoring and then simple switches to control events in the game; a domestic light pull switch makes it day or night in the game world. Our young researchers made 3Dprinted objects interactive; a chest flickers LED warnings when a house is griefed; a tree has a hidden button to build random forests with WorldEdit

    The project output is a series of prototype resources physical and digital for co-design and creativity. It’s shown as a pop up exhibition at FACT’s ground floor Connects space and a chance to see how the public reacts and what new things we can learn from their responses.

    The MinecraftOfThings is growing exponentially and we are by no means its pioneers but part of an evolving & emerging community. The beauty of Minecraft is the way it has exposed new hinterlands of post-network society ‘hobbyist’ or amateur knowledge culture; with perhaps quite odd connections to the tinkerers and makers of the past. In 20 years perhaps it will be at event like the North West Vintage Rally.

    For now keep it real. Keep it minecraft!

  2. This week I finally moved into DoESLiverpool! Getting a half tonne LaserScript 1290 Pro laser cutter onto the 4th floor was a minor miracle and could not have done it without the power of Liverpools tech community/mates: Mega props to @wowballsUK @DefProc @mcknut @MethodDan John Ramsey, JR, Hakim @aBookofThings @DoESLiverpool @Defnetmedia for the help, support, problem solving and heavy lifting! @DoeSLiverpool now centre of all things laser in Liverpool City centre… & Special thanks to Simon Derwent of Wowballs and Open Source Swan Pedalo fame for driving & finding a temporary home for the Currently bathysphere kit with Grace at the Liverpool Water Sports Centre

  3. Last month had awesome inspiring research trip with Urbanekuensteruhr to @dasLabor with @lambdafu looking into hackspace & maker/geek culture in Bochum. Love dasLabor projects; a talented and important community in Bochum https://www.das-labor.org/wiki/LABOR_Wiki

    Great friendly and interesting creative people. Working on some sort of exchange with @DoESLiverpool next summer. Marcus Brinkmann & co took me to amazing space http://www.dienstagstreff.de/ with restored pinball machines, studio spaces, 8bit tapestry & C64 lab.

    Now to design & build some sort of large social construction machine…more on project soon…

  4. Pulling stuff together this week for #minecraft #cardboard textures for the Open Hardware Jam at @Oggcamp 19- 20 October 2013, this weekend at the Art & Design Academy at LJMU. Looking to do some minecraft construction using @defproc ‘s amazing TriLateration (TLRN) crane fresh from its public debut at MiniMaker Faire Manchester and the AND Fair at AND Festival…

    Maybe one day we can make cardboard redstone with RaspberryPi’s and conductive ink?

    I’m made up to be one of the Open Hardware Jam organisers alongwith Patrick Fenner and Dan Lynch. It’s an informal jam of diverse disruptive and open source thinking, systems, artworks and products from all over the UK from the internet of things to local letterpress printing, GSR bodysensing to minecraft to community PCB production: its going to be a totally hybrid physical and virtual experience!

  5. Today been building up Kinect skeleton tracking synths in Supercollider with the brilliant Synapse OSC app by Ryan Challinor for MakingSense exhibition opens next Fri at @falloutfactory with @TickyLowe @cheapjack @AilieRutherford & DavidOgle Don’t miss it! http://pic.twitter.com/mfMj1Mubwq now comes the lovely task of re-building in windows6…

    Today been building up Kinect skeleton tracking synths in Supercollider with the brilliant Synapse OSC app by Ryan Challinor for MakingSense exhibition opens next Fri at @falloutfactory with @TickyLowe @cheapjack @AilieRutherford & DavidOgle Don’t miss it! http://pic.twitter.com/mfMj1Mubwq now comes the lovely task of re-building in windows6…

  6. Great day talking #drones #3Dprinting #reprap RC culture at #And2013 didn’t fly but we did remote control @amcewen ;) pic.twitter.com/57lFxn7kVa

    The drone narrative in mainstream culture imagines them as yet another elite run surveillance and control system; not to mention instruments of death; and with good reason. And then the 3Dprinting narrative says we can all make anything we want at any time avoiding sweatshops and taking a post-globalisation sidestreet..

    There are some projects out there that are trying to open up much more complex hybrid narratives between the two, like Jasper Van Loenan’s Drone It Yourself; Myself and OFFCUTLIverpool were asked by @ANDFestival to build his 3Dprinted DIY drone for the AND Fair

    It’s not the first DIY drone; drones are by default a massive DIY culture like its older RC flying community, but he has made a brilliant disruptive leap between DIY drone, digital fabrication and design culture. A conversation much more complex, but nevertheless related to the recent media ‘shock’ of the 3D printed gun; its almost a counterpart design narrative but one less easy to resolve a response to. We can make access to drones and quadcopters much easier by digital fabrication but then to make it fly unstable inappropriate objects glitches up the engineering process; quadcoptors need super light weight balanced structures to get the control that makes them so useful (for whatever reason)

    I didnt make our bike wheel fly, the 3D print we did hadn’t enough tensile strength in the direction needed despite Mark, a local designer finding us a much lighter bike wheel!

    We did however open up fascinating conversations around these cultures which we should have in retrospect recorded; from ethics and trauma of killing at a distance, to locksports, where & how to 3d print (@DoesLiverpool is the place!), what is prototyping, how to fly, local hackspace culture, how to be an engineer all the way to planning celebrity arduino workshops with Stevie Nicks.

    The hardest things to collect are the conversations artists and festivals make happen and no amount of streaming can capture that; you have to be there!

    Thanks again to ANDFestival & Jasper for letting me take part in the ANDFair, Mark for donating a wheel, Adrian Mcewen and Glenn Boulter for flight tests, Patrick Fenner and DoESLiverpool for the RepRap use and the brilliant Andy Goodwin for all his help with motors and difficult ESC RC controller board choices!

  7. Great to get involved with Naomi Kashiwagi’s #inthemix sessions at MadLabUK. I brought along a 4bit (possibly less) crunchy lasercut acrylic bootleg of That Fucking Tank’s ‘Brucesteenhenge’ and a micro rumble strip prototype all made with the elegant coding and calculation of Amanda Ghassaei's Instructable. Try it! Must be the most elaborate and useless bootleg of their brilliant work it gets worse each time you play it…I will have to send them one in tribute to their work with Never Records in Liverpool…
Then really good to think about other forms of making music physical or the other way round with people like James Medd who showed me his Physical Echoes project. As usual another brilliant mix of people at Madlab!

    Great to get involved with Naomi Kashiwagi’s #inthemix sessions at MadLabUK. I brought along a 4bit (possibly less) crunchy lasercut acrylic bootleg of That Fucking Tank’s ‘Brucesteenhenge’ and a micro rumble strip prototype all made with the elegant coding and calculation of Amanda Ghassaei's Instructable. Try it! Must be the most elaborate and useless bootleg of their brilliant work it gets worse each time you play it…I will have to send them one in tribute to their work with Never Records in Liverpool…

    Then really good to think about other forms of making music physical or the other way round with people like James Medd who showed me his Physical Echoes project. As usual another brilliant mix of people at Madlab!

  8. Completed the first Currently hackspace! Successfully launched our prototype #SerialBuoy a design using recycled water bottles found by John O’Shea on instructables. We used Steve Symon’s handy EasyRadio module to send basic asci messages from the dockside to an LED flasher onboard and of course Open Source Swan Pedalo to launch it driven by Amanda Steggell, Steven Thorpe and Elisabeth Weihe.

  9. @amcewen and I played around with #NoisyTable and managed to use the comport object in PureData to turn the MIDI output of the NoisyTable arduino into a solenoid trigger using some simple toy bells that we made an acrylic stand @OFFCUTLiverpool.

    We didn’t manage a #pingpong rendition of jingle bells but we did play some chords! @mikestubbs brought his kids along for testing purposes later. Plan is to get some fresh solenoids attached to the ‘bellhack bellrack’ and the code for reading MIDI and serial all packaged up into a usb powered device so we can get it touring wherever #NoisyTable goes in the future.

  10. Astroturf

    AstroturfFlyer

    Saturday 24th November 2012 4pm - 7.30pm FREE

    Everton Park Off Heyworth Street

    Please use top car park Off Heyworth Street at entrance near May Duncans Pub or park on Heyworth Street. Pedestrians enter on Heyworth Street near the Breck Road traffic lights, follow the glowing signs and people with High Viz vests!

    Click Here for Directions

    Liverpool Astronomical Society 

    FREE Family Astronomy Event

    Astroturf is a family friendly event to introduce the objects of the night sky and the many ways you can observe, from optical and radio telescopes to social media, mobile applications and simply looking up and recognising satellites, stars and constellations. 

    Part of Liverpool Biennials “Unexpected Guest” programme, artist Ross Dalziel has invited the ‘unexpected knowledge’ of Merseyside’s community of amazing amateur astronomy enthusiasts of Liverpool Astronomical Society Sidewalk Astronomy (LASSA). This 129 year old organisation will help show families and artists the amazing activity in the night sky and allow people to explore the local DIY expertise of their city at a site overlooking the Liverpool skyline.

    Observing

    Fingers crossed we will get a clear & dry window to use the amazing telescopes of the North West amateur astronomers of (LASSA)

    Making

    Make Planispheres and night vision torches

    Talks & Presentations

    Introduction Ross Dalziel Artist

    The LAS Brendan Martin Liverpool Astronomical Society Observatory Director

    The X-Ray Universe Martyn Bristow Liverpool John Moores University Astrophysics Research Institute

    Pulsars and Machine Learning Rob Lyon Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics/MerseySTEM network

    Astroturf Links on Pinboard